Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Coffee Creamer Oatmeal



This was my breakfast creation this morning. I know you're probably thinking that coffee creamer is supposed to be in coffee, but this really works.  I love how you can use any flavored creamer you want... I used french vanilla, but I can't wait to try the caramel macchiato that is calling me on the kitchen shelf...and the Irish creme.  If you use 1 container of creamer, the sweetness will be pretty subtle, so if you like your oatmeal more sweet then I would recommend using 1/4 cup rolled oats or adding 2 creamers.  You can also add desired toppings of your choice to the oatmeal, like fruit and/or nuts.  There are hundreds of variations you can make.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup rolled oats (I used old fashioned, but you can use instant..just reduce the cooking time)
1 cup water
1 sample container container of coffee creamer (or about 1 Tablespoon...you can add 2 containers or 2 Tablespoons if you'd like it sweeter)


Instructions:
Place oats and water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes.
Stir in creamer and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Toast/Sandwich






One thing that I have always loved and always will love is incorporating dessert for breakfast.  Since I have an incredibly large sweet tooth, dessert is a meal that I can never have too much of.  I've realized that you can transform almost every single dessert into oatmeal, pancakes, french toast, waffles, or simply just toast.  Thanksgiving was a few days ago, so I was thinking about all the desserts I had, like my delicious pumpkin pecan praline cheesecake, which was made with William Sonoma's pumpkin butter.  And I had an idea: pumpkin pie...on toast.  So simple, yet so delicious.  And way healthier than the traditional pumpkin pie.  If you've never had pumpkin butter, it tastes just like pumpkin pie filling, but it's all natural and doesn't use evaporated milk.  So I spread a little bit on toast, added some whipped cream, topped it with graham cracker crumbs, and wa-lah! Pumpkin pie toast.  It was like eating pumpkin pie for breakfast.  Yum.

Ingredients:
1 slice bread (I used whole wheat)
2 tablespoons pumpkin butter*
whipped cream
graham cracker crumbs


Instructions:
Toast bread.  Spread pumpkin butter over toasted bread.  Spread enough whipped cream on top of the pumpkin butter so it's completely covered.  Sprinkle top of whipped cream with generous amount of graham cracker crumbs.


*If you don't have pumpkin butter, then you can make your own.  Combine canned pumpkin with a sprinkle of sugar (white or brown is fine), and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.


***you can also add a slice of toasted bread on top to make a sandwich.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maple Peanut Butter Breakfast Bread Pudding


This is a peanut butter lover's paradise. It is my all-time favorite peanut butter recipe.  I am not even kidding you...I was practically drooling while eating it.  If you like peanut butter, you will absolutely LOVE this.  It is very peanut buttery - but hey, you can never have too much peanut butter in my opinion.  It's adapted from a recipe on peanutbutterlovers.com (yes, there really is such a website...and I happen to go on it often.  not obsessively or anything.) and I added the special topping to make it even more spectacular.  The topping is a sweet-and-salty mix from my nutella peanut butter pillows.  I wouldn't change anything about this recipe...it's so perfectly rich and full of delightful peanut butter flavor.  Definitely have a glass of milk at your side when you dig into this dish.  You'll be licking your lips and wanting more.


Ingredients:
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups cubed brioche or challah bread (cut into 3/4 inch cubes)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup crushed peanuts



Garnish:
1/4 cup of finely ground, roasted (regular peanuts are fine too) peanuts (run through the food processor)
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of sea salt



Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 4-ounce ramekins. Mix 1/3 cup peanut butter, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and salt. Toss bread cubes in mixture until thoroughly coated. Divide evenly among prepared dishes. Bake until custard is set in the middle and the top is golden, about 35-40 minutes. 


Note: If tops of bread brown too quickly, cover ramekins loosely with aluminum foil. 


While pudding is baking, blend 1/3 cup peanut butter with maple syrup; transfer to small saucepan and heat on low until thoroughly warmed.
To serve, drizzle ramekins with maple-peanut sauce and garnish.  


*If you choose not to garnish with this topping - which you really should, powdered sugar or whipped cream is good too.

Nutella Peanut Butter Pillows






Oh yes. These really are just as good as the picture.  But I can't take credit; these wonderful pillows originated from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine.  I only altered it a little. These are so flavorful and incredibly amazing.  The outside is a peanut butter cookie with slightly crisp edges, and the inside is a soft cloud of peanut butter-nutella filling.  They're rolled in a sweet-and-salty pile of peanuts, cinnamon, and sugar.  And it's really fun to roll them...who doesn't love playing with cookie dough? ;) The slight saltiness, especially from the sea salt, makes these little master pieces have loads of flavor.  The almond extract gives it a really fantastic nut taste, as opposed to using vanilla extract.The cookie tastes like a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich only without the boring slice of bread. Imagine that instead of bread, you have a sugar cookie with a sprinkling of sea salt and cinnamon. Grab a tall glass of ice cold milk and prepare to be transported to a Nutella and peanut butter filled heaven.

Cookie Ingredients
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of cake flour (if you don't have cake flour, all-purpose can be substituted, but just use 1/4 cup...so a total of 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour)
1/2 tsp. of baking Soda
3/4 tsp. of sea salt
1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) butter. At room temp.
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter (crunchy is fine too, but they're more "pillow-like" with smooth)

Nutella Filling Ingredients
1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup of Nutella
1/4 tsp. of sea salt
1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. of confectioners sugar

Topping/Rolling Ingredients
1/4 cup of finely ground, roasted (regular peanuts are fine too) peanuts (run through the food processor )
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of sea salt

Method
In a small bowl, Sift the flours and baking soda together. Whisk in the sea salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, Cream the butter. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the almond extract and *peanut butter.* Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time. Be careful not to over mix. Stop beating when all the flour streaks are gone. Cover and refrigerate for an hour while you make the filling and topping.
* If you lightly grease and flour the measuring cup it will be much easier to remove the peanut butter. *

To make the Nutella filling, Combine all the ingredients and mix well. You should be able to easily roll the filling into ball forms. If it is too sticky add more confectioners sugar. Set aside until ready to use.

To make the topping, Simply mix all the ingredients into a shallow bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Measure out about 2 level tablespoons of the chilled cookie dough. Roll into a ball and flatten out onto the parchment paper. Roll some of the Nutella dough into a smaller ball and place on top of the cookie dough, Press in slightly. Gently fold the cookie dough over the Nutella so it is completely covered. 
Carefully roll into a ball and roll the ball into the topping so it has a nice coating. Place ball back onto the parchment paper and lightly press down with the bottom of a glass.

Place cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are a light gold.

Makes about 20-28 cookies. *You can adjust the size of your cookies and use as little or as much filling as you want. Just be sure to adjust the baking time accordingly.*

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Crustless Spinach Quiche


      Quiches have always been a favorite of mine.  Why? Because you can add anything to them!!  I've done so many variations with quiches.  Once, I even made muffin quiches and each one was different (one had ham, one had chicken, one had different vegetables or spices, etc).  This quiche is probably my favorite of all my experiments.  I really enjoy it with sharp white cheddar cheese and mushrooms as well.  I absolutely love spinach and white cheese (as opposed to orange cheeses I mean), and I do NOT like pie crust!  I've never liked any flaky pie crust...even on fruit pies and pumpkin pie.  I think it tastes so plain and weird.  So I created this crustless spinach quiche.  It's so easy and delicious... a perfect Sunday brunch.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, wilted and drained
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or garlic salt, if you prefer)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Grits on Toast









If you like toast, and you like grits, then you’ll enjoy this recipe. It’s just a little twist from your usual buttered toast or cheese toast.  I would recommend adding the egg too.

Ingredients:
1 slice whole wheat bread
1 packet instant grits – any flavor (butter, cheddar, or original)
1 egg (optional)*

Instructions:
  1. Cook grits according to instructions
  2. Toast bread in toaster
  3. Pour grits over toast and eat with a fork and knife

* If adding an egg, scramble or serve sunny-side up over toast, and then pour grits over top the egg.

Pepper Honey Cedar Plank Salmon Pizza


            Salmon pizza?  Yeah, it’s a little unusual, but it’s good.  It’s really good. The secret is the sauce and the cedar planks. The sauce makes a delicious marinade for any grilled fish or chicken, especially salmon.  If you taste the sauce before it’s placed on the fish, it may taste pretty peppery from the cayenne, but the finished product is not too peppery.  It’s perfectly spiced.  This is my all time favorite salmon marinade and I really enjoyed it on these pizzas.  The cedar plank gives the salmon a huge load of smoky flavor…way better than just broiling it in the oven.  One thing I like about these pizzas is they’re very balanced between the salmon and the pizza crust.  Salmon is definitely a more heavy, rich, filling fish.  And these pizzas are less filling than normal pizza because they’re made on tortillas.  I’ve made tortilla pizzas in the oven many times, and I love it because it’s so easy and you can add whatever ingredients you want.

Yield: 6 personal pizzas

Ingredients:
2 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks

For the sauce:
¼ inch cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ cup honey
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the pizzas:
6 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless salmon fillets
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
6 whole wheat flour tortillas

Instructions:
  1. Soak cedar planks in warm water 1-2 hours
  2. Bring first 6 sauce ingredients to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in remaining sauce ingredients.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 15 minutes.  Set sauce aside.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat.  Place planks on the grate.  They’re ready to cook when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.
  4. Season the salmon with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Place the fillets onto the smoking cedar planks and baste each fillet with a light coating of sauce.  Close lid of grill and cook salmon until just done in the center (about 15 minutes), basting about halfway through.  Remove salmon from grill.  Shred and pull it apart into bite-sized pieces.
  5. In a small skillet, saut√© onion and green pepper in oil until tender, about 6 minutes.  Place tortillas onto ungreased baking sheets.  Top with onion mixture, salmon, and cheeses.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  6. While pizza is cooking, return remaining sauce to a simmer to return to its liquid state.  Drizzle sauce over pizzas when done, cut into wedges, and serve.

Maple Almond Cinnamon Latte


Maple Syrup!!  Yum yum YUM!  Maple is one of my favorite flavors.  I love maple everything…maple cake, maple frosting, maple syrup on pancakes, maple flavored pie, maple fudge, maple ice cream, etc. So I incorporated it into a latte, to create this sweet drink.  I always use the optional extracts because I like lots of flavor, but it tastes really good without them too.  A lot of people don’t enjoy the taste of almond extract because it’s pretty strong, but I like it.  If you’re looking for a way to shake up you’re usual, some-old morning coffee, then this is the perfect recipe to try.  Feel free to use less or more maple syrup depending on how sweet you want it.

Ingredients:
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup milk
¼ cup maple syrup
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 drop almond extract (optional)
1 drop vanilla extract (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a coffee mug and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream if desired.

***You may need to heat it to a pretty high temperature to make sure the cinnamon is fully dissolved.

Campfire Biscuits



This is probably one of my top 5 favorite foods ever. And that is saying a lot.  Trust me.  I’ve tried an incredible amount of food in my short lifetime.  These biscuits from heaven are so, so, so, soooo good!!!!!!  Way better than s’mores.  I seriously go into a food coma every time I make them.  Each biscuit melts in your mouth and I could eat the entire thing in one bite.  You can put whatever ingredients you want in them. I’ve made many variations: different types of chips (all are amazing, like butterscotch and white chocolate), mini marshmallows, & graham cracker crumbs…nut butters…cheese…butter, brown sugar and cinnamon…be creative!  My favorite is definitely butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips.  They get super melted in the hot dough, and sometimes the butter will ooze out of it and you’ll have to eat it really fast…but you’ll eat these fast anyways, because they’re so darn good.

Ingredients:
Croissant dough (I used the canned Pillsbury kind that comes in triangles)
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Salted butter

Instructions:
1. Place the croissant dough (1-2 triangles=1 serving) on the end of a stick (or pole; whatever you’re using to roast it over the fire) so that it’s covering the end.  Wrap the sides around the stick, and pinch it all the way down (should be about 4 inches) so that it’s sealed (this prevents the ingredients from oozing out when you stuff them).
2. Roast the dough over the fire until browned.  Make sure it’s pretty crisp on the outside (but not burned!) to make sure the inside is well cooked, because it will be less cooked on the inside than on the outside.  When browned, carefully slide the biscuit off the stick – if it sticks and doesn’t slide off smoothly, then it’s not cooked enough.
3. While it’s still hot, fill the biscuit with chocolate chips and butter, alternating in shifts, so that each is distributed evenly within the biscuit.  Make sure to stuff it down to the bottom and fill it completely up.  Wait about a minute to make sure it all melts.
4.  Bite, chew, swallow, and smile (:

Best Chocolate Cake



This is the absolute best, most perfect chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted.  I don’t know about you, but most cakes I’ve eaten are dry, and wouldn’t have tasted very good without whatever frosting was on them.  Even with boxed cake mixes…I think you just have to be really careful not to overcook them.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a party and the cake was dry (I would never say anything, of course…and I still eat it). It’s pretty hard not to make a cake dry if it doesn’t use lots of butter, and you need to be sure not to over cook it.  However, this amazingly fantastic chocolate cake is not dry at all.  It’s very moist, but also fluffy.  It’s perfect.  The coffee in the cake really brings out the chocolate flavor.  And it’s so easy to throw together!  The frosting is the best chocolate frosting I’ve ever had also.  It’s so rich and smooth and delicious…I could eat it plain with a spoon.  I made this for my dad’s birthday last year and he wants it every year now. √† I wish it was his birthday every day.

Yield: about 24 servings (2 9-inch round pans)

For the cake:

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans or one 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack. Fill and frost with chocolate frosting below.

For the chocolate frosting:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 9 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.